Why SaaS Leaders Should Outsource Their Customer Success Program

by Beth Bartlett in Beth Bartlett, Contact Center Outsourcing, Customer Service Outsourcing, SaaS

When we are talking to organizations in the sales cycle, we will often hear from SaaS companies that the customer success role is too complex, too critical, too deeply embedded in their internal operations to ever be outsourced. We are here today to say, with respect, they’re wrong.

It’s kind of ironic because many (most?) SaaS companies are no strangers to how an entire industry can be flipped on its head with a simple reframing of business models. That’s what has happened in the outsourced contact center space when it comes to SaaS clients — there’s been a metamorphosis from customer service cost center to customer success revenue protection and generation center.

It’s an evolution that has landed the contact center in a role as a major driver of business growth, especially in the realm of SaaS. But with this new height of significance, is customer success really something you can outsource? As usual, we’re biased, but we can prove why we believe the answer is yes.

If you want to dive into the deep end, read on. If you just want the bite-sized tips to consider as you explore the idea of engaging an outsourced partner to provide a robust Customer Success solution, copy this table and email it to yourself to read later:


Definitely Do This

Definitely Avoid This

Pay Attention to This

  • Launch with a dedicated team and work with your outsourced partner to onboard agents into your brand and culture, even though they are employed by your outsourcer.
  • Work with your outsourcer to identify and measure CSS-specific metrics (this isn’t an average handle time kind of situation) and give their team a transparent view of your data to be able to measure their own performance effectively.
  • Work with your outsourcer to build the CSS profile, then trust them to hire the right people. That’s their business after all.
  • Line up the senior resources who will pay attention to the program on both sides of the equation. You and your outsourced partner should both have senior eyes on results, continual improvement, and gaps at least quarterly. And don’t forget to celebrate success together!
  • Find a partner who can pivot. If you are an organization that can start/stop/change on a dime, you need a partner who can go on that ride with you.
  • Find a partner who has experience, and proven success, in providing SaaS companies with effective Customer Success solutions.
  • Ill-defined KPIs. You and your partner need to know what success looks like before they launch.
  • An ill-defined mission: know what direction you are headed in and leverage your partner to get you there. A lack of clarity spells doom.
  • Locking your data behind closed doors. Your CSS team is going to thrive on data – let them in.
  • An ‘us versus them’ mindset. You’re not just writing a check to pay for agents in seats. You’re working with a strategic partner and a team of CSS experts. Listen, learn, share… in other words, collaborate.
  • Assuming a cost-center mindset. The goal is revenue protection and growth. Dig into the results and data so you can clearly identify and articulate the impact and value of these managed services to your own internal stakeholders.
  • Connecting across all levels of both organizations. A strategic partner who is well connected to your team from the frontline up to the C Suite will be able to resolve any potential issues easier, and seamlessly support your organization as people on your team move in and out of relevant roles.
  • Your successful partnership will start at the contract negotiation table. The MSA and SOW need constructing to ensure the partnership is a win-win and everyone is clear on goals and measures, and governance.
  • Maintaining a consistent commitment to transparency, effective communication, and expectation setting on both sides of the partnership. A good strategic partnership is like any other partnership, it takes intention and attention to thrive.


Customer Success in SaaS: Where to Start

If you’re still in startup mode, we know what it’s like to be in the weeds doing it all yourself. Maybe the CEO herself is answering the phone or maybe you’ve grown enough to hire an internal team. It’s possible that right now customer service just means tech support (this was the case for a SaaS client of ours when we first partnered years ago.)

No matter the current scenario, your vision is to grow. What will it take to scale your company? The easy answer is that you need to focus on growth, which means finding someone—or a scalable team of someones—to focus on customer onboarding, reducing customer churn, and optimizing product uptake and utilization.

Customer success is a proactive approach that ensures customers are getting the most out of your product so that they will renew their subscriptions, upgrade their plans, and even refer business to future customers. As a result, customer success, when done well, has a significant impact on your bottom line.

Implementing a customer success program means bringing on an outsourced team of Customer Success Advocates (CSAs), Customer Success Managers (CSMs), and Customer Success Specialists (CSSs). Together, these specialized agents become an extension of your business, developing relationships with your customers throughout the entire life cycle. Ideally, they will draw from the well of a robust knowledge base to ensure those customers are leveraging your product to its full potential, setting the stage for optimal lifetime customer value.

Sidenote on trust: Your early adopter customers are the very reason your SaaS company is growing out of startup phase. It’s going to be hard to believe that anybody else, especially outside of your organization, will be able to connect with them in the same way you did at the beginning. They’re loyal, they’re brand evangelists, and they’re used to hearing your unique brand voice. How do you outsource that connection? Answer: you do due diligence to find an outsourced partner you can trust. Find an outsourcer who has extensive experience, who believes in strategic partnership, and is as excited about your brand as they are about their own.

Instead, you need to be thinking about concepts like revenue protection, license consumption, customer churn, renewal rates, engagement levels and cadence, and customer loyalty. These types of leading indicators measure success across the entire customer lifecycle.












From the beginning, customer onboarding must go smoothly, with no disruption to their business. As the relationship continues, CSAs must proactively engage the customer to optimize their product utilization. When renewals periods are coming up, the goal is to ensure renewal and even up- or cross-selling products as appropriate. Ultimate customer success means driving customer loyalty and turning those customers into product advocates or brand ambassadors. These touchpoints come together to significantly impact revenue.

The right outsourcer will understand and be experienced with all these metrics and touchpoints throughout the customer lifecycle. That said, they also know that outsourcing this entire operation is a huge undertaking and that it’s best to go slow to get it right. They will be able to recommend and collaborate with you in regard to which processes to outsource first.  As mentioned, one of our SaaS clients began years ago as a Tier 1 tech support program. Today, our Customer Success Advocates manage 170 customer accounts each, totaling an annual revenue of $756 million for the client.

Can you do all this in-house? Sure. It’s possible. But the fact is, you’re focused on growing your company, not defining the customer journey and the metrics that go with it. You could hire a team to do it for you, but if your vision is to rapidly scale your startup, you’re also going to need a world class HR and recruitment team to grow your customer success team alongside it. It all adds up quickly, requiring a significant investment of time, money, and energy.

Or, you could outsource. Find a partner who knows what they’re doing, can scale alongside you, and understands what it really takes to boost your revenue through customer success.

Looking for the right contact center partner to outsource your customer success? Let’s chat.

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